As Alaska’s oil fields are winding down, North Dakota’s are winding up. And there’s a deadly problem: the oil from North Dakota is significantly more volatile. Some of the train cars transporting this oil aren’t modernized to handle the risk. When derailments happen, and they do, the results can be deadly. At least five of these trains have come off the tracks in the last two years; one of those was in Quebec and 47 people were killed in the explosion.
That same oil is being trained through Spokane, Vancouver then up the Puget Sound shoreline (Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle, Mount Vernon, Bellingham) to one of the refineries. Hundreds of cars full of this dangerous material travel this route each week, and oil companies are planning to grow, I believe increasing the risk even more.
Right now, there are two bills on the table: One by Rep. Jessyn Farrell and one by Sen. Doug Ericksen. I believe Ericksen’s sets us up for failure, Farrell’s sets us up for success. First responders need to be notified when these explosive trains are coming, Ericksen’s doesn’t do that. His bill also leaves off part of the barrel tax on oil companies, meaning the money won’t be there to equip fire fighters and improve crossings. Let’s vote for Jessyn Farrell’s.